Aug 16 , 2020

Addis Abeba's vital events registration agency is set to procure 200 security printers and seals to prevent birth, death and marriage certificates as well as digital identification cards from being forged. The procurement could cost over 50 million Br.

For the procurement of the printers, the Addis Abeba Vital Events Registration & Information Agency is in the final stage of floating an international tender through the city's Public Procurement & Property Disposal Agency. The bid is expected to be announced in the coming few weeks.

The security printers will be distributed to all of the 113 weredasacross the city and the remaining will be held as a reserve in case of technical failures and problems. The printers will print security features and seals on the certificates and IDs that cannot be easily reprinted. The Agency expects to fully launch the project in three months.

"We've been challenged with forgeries," said Takele Necha (PhD), director-general of Agency, "and the printers will help us to fight against forged documents."

Currently, the Agency is printing temporary IDs and certificates at the Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise, the giant state-owned printing company. The two parties signed an agreement for the printing of birth, marriage and death certificates as well as citizenship IDs in November 2018.

The printing press only prints the IDs and certificates after receiving the unique number on each ID and certificate, giving each document its own barcode. During the last fiscal year, the Agency paid 27 million Br to Berehana Selam for the printing service, and it intends to spend 35 million Br in this fiscal year.

The current IDs and certificates printed by Berhanena Selam have a barcode that can be read by ultraviolet barcode readers, which are only found at the Agency and some federal institutions. Banks, embassies, hotels and any institutions that require IDs are required to only consider IDs issued after 2018.

The software for the City Administration's civil status registration management system was developed by Techno Brain Ethiopia several years ago. So far, the Agency has served 579,000 residents of the city with the new system.

The Agency issues two types of citizenship cards, temporary and permanent, both having barcodes. The temporary one is manual and printed on paper by Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise and given to applicants that are in a hurry. The permanent card, which takes a minimum of six days for processing, is issued by the Agency.

Anyone who seeks a permanent digital card goes to the weredaand files an application. The weredathen sends the list of applicants to the districts, which will finally transfer all the inquiries to the Agency. The Agency integrates all the personal information and details of the applicants with the systems of the weredaand district.

Due to critical infrastructure problems, such as bad internet connections and electric power interruptions, the electronic ID card cannot be as functional as it has the potential to be, according to Yonas Alemayehu, deputy director of the Agency, which was reestablished five years ago.

The Agency is also in the process of launching an application called Mobile goID. Launched with 15 million Br, the system allows smartphones to be used for identification purposes in place of physical ID cards. Individuals and institutions who wish to have the app will download it after payment.

Dilnesaw Samuel, lecturer of logistics and supply chain management at Addis Abeba University, thinks the Agency should follow a rigorous process to pick the winning company by carefully preparing the bidding document.

"The bid document should be prepared in a way that can efficiently measure the financial capacity of the bidders and their previous track record," he said.

Dawit Nehmiya, an IT expert, said that having the security printer is a leap forward for the Agency in terms of improving security and technological development.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 16,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1059]

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